Mealybugs (Pseudococcidae) is the common name for some among the most destructive plant pests. They are scale insects coated with a powdery mealy waxy secretion; that feed on plant juices. Mealybugs are considered pests on many plants, including apple, avocado, cassava, citrus, coffee, grapes, pineapple, rice and sugarcane. They also very often deposit honeydew on fruits, on which dangerous mold species can develop.
In Southern Brazil some mealybugs species represent a danger to Persimmon trees, an edible fruit of a number of species of trees in the genus Diospyros. So far ten species of mealybugs have been associated with Persimmon but a new study from Brazil found three species entirely new to science.
One of these species was named after a researcher (Anisococcus granarae), another after the host plant (Ferrisia kaki) , and the last after the mother of one of the authors (Pseudococcus rosangelae).
For the experts: Brazil has the greatest insect diversity in the world; however, little is known about its scale insect species (Hemiptera: Coccomorpha). Mealybugs (Pseudococcidae) have been found in at least 50% of persimmon orchards Diospyros kaki L. in the southern part of the country. In this study three new mealybug species on persimmon trees located in the Serra Gaúcha Region, RS, Brazil, namely, Anisococcus granarae Pacheco da Silva & Kaydan, sp. n., Ferrisia kaki Kaydan & Pacheco da Silva, sp. n. and Pseudococcus rosangelae Pacheco da Silva & Kaydan, sp. n. are described. In addition, an identification key for the genera occurring on fruit orchards and vineyards in Brazil is provided, together with illustrations and molecular data for the new species.